October 20, 2009
City Council Chamber
Recognized Total Community Action, Inc.
District "C" Councilmember James Carter presented a proclamation on behalf of the full City Council, recognizing Total Community Action, Inc. for their Head Start October Awareness month.
Total Community Action, Inc.'s Head Start Program is a child and family development program that provides services and experiences to promote the growth and development of the family, including health, nutrition, social and mental health services, as well as early childhood education. Total Community Action, Inc. operates eight Head Start Centers throughout the New Orleans area.
Councilmember Carter said, "Total Community Action, Inc.'s Head Start program encourages parents' full participation in the early development of their children and assists them in the development of enhanced parenting skills. This is a valued community program and we want to recognize this organization for the high quality work that they do."
Approved 2010 Tax Appeal Recommendations
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Council convened as the Board of Review to receive apresentation from Kyle Spaulding, Associate Attorney of Frilot, LLC, of recommendations in connection with the 2010 taxappeal hearings for Orleans Parish.
The presentation specifically provided information on the number of appeals with a break down by type and district, and a summary of the aggregate recommendations to the Board of Review (BOR).
Additionally, Spaulding reported an unprecedented level of participation during the hearings from both assessors and taxpayers, which led to an increased number of settlements at tax appeal hearings.
After the presentation, the Council, acting as the Board of Review, passed Resolution R-09-1, adopting the recommendations concerning disposition of abatement appeals in the First through Seventh Municipal Districts, with the exception of Appeal #610-1.
The Council, acting as Board of Review, also passed Resolution R-09-2, certifying to the Louisiana Tax Commission by the Secretary of the Board of Review, the 2010 assessment rolls of the First through Seventh Municipal Districts, as adjusted by the Board of Review, with the exception of Appeal #610-1.
Decision letters will be mailed to all appellants by October 25th and will contain information about taking further appeals to the Louisiana Tax Commission.
Frilot has handled approximately 6,000 tax appeals over the last three years for the BOR - approximately 5,400 appeals for tax year 2008, 450 appeals for tax year 2009 and 200 for tax year 2010.
Evelyn F. Pugh
Interim Council Chief of Staff
Ph: (504) 658-1082
Established Office of Inspector General Third-Party Advisory Committee
The Council passed Motion M-09-570, authored by Councilmembers Fielkow and Carter, establishing the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Third-Party Advisory Committee for a period of time not to exceed one year commencing December 1, 2009.
The committee will perform annual quality assurance reviews of audits, investigations, inspections and performance reviews. Membership of the committee includes one representative named by the City Council, one from the office of the Mayor, one named by the Louisiana Supreme Court, one named by the Association of Inspectors General, and one named by the Ethics Review Board.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "The current law mandates that certain requirements must be met for the OIG, and today we are simply naming the appointee of the City Council for this committee. We want to be clear that the establishment of this committee is not in response to any recent developments with regard to the management and leadership of the OIG. With this new entity, we are simply fulfilling a procedural requirement written into the law."
The Council appointed as its representative to the committee District "C" Councilmember James Carter, who will serve as Chair until the committee elects a Chair from among its membership. The Council will by motion annually renew the OIG Third-Party Advisory Committee.
Councilmember Carter said, "I am honored to be selected as the Council's appointment for this
committee. We recognize the importance of the OIG and this committee will help to ensure efficient and transparent operations of the office."
Supported Naming of the New Orleans Trauma Center
Dr. Larry Hollier, Dr. Peter Deblieux, Dr. Ben Sachs and Dr. Norman McSwain appeared before the Council to give a presentation on the naming of the New Orleans Trauma Center.
The doctors discussed the functions of the trauma center as a place to care for patients, as well as a teaching center where medical student, residents, and younger staff including nurses, can come to train and learn.
The Council passed Resolution R-09-573, co-authored by Councilmembers Clarkson and Head, commending the LSU Board of Supervisors for naming the trauma center as "The Spirit of Charity Trauma Center".
District "B" Councilmember Stacy Head said, "This trauma center is a prime example of how two nationally-renowned medical schools can join together in an effort to bring high quality medical care to our community."
Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "We are so grateful for all of your hard work and collaboration to make this trauma center one of the best in the country. We know that it will continue to serve as a center for medical care for our citizens and a training facility for those in the medical profession."
Re-issued RFQ for Utility Consultants
The Council passed Motion M-09-577, authored by Councilmember Midura, to re-issue the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to initiate the competitive selection of qualified professionals to advise and represent the Council on electric and gas utility matters.
The Council passed the Motion as a result of the few responses to the September 3, 2009 RFQ, referencing that significantly more responses were received from qualified utility consulting firms in 2004, and that the Utility Committee has rejected responses to RFQs for consultants due to a lack of competition within the pool of responses as recently as May 2009.
The Council requested that the City Attorney issue an opinion with regard to the Motion, to verify that the Council does not put those responses to the RFQ already received at a disadvantage by re-issuing the RFQ.
District "A" Councilmember Shelley Midura said, "Re-issuing the RFQ will ensure robust competition and guarantee that we can select the highest quality service at the best price. In doing this, we will also ensure that we meet the deadline of December 31st to select an applicant before our current contracts expire."
Supported Implementation of Option 2a for Outfall Canals
John Young, Jefferson Parish Councilman-at-Large, Division A; Tom Capella, Jefferson Parish Councilman-at-Large, Division B; Marcia St. Martin, Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board; Lisa Ludwig, Executive Director of Pump to the River; Joseph Rault of Pump to the River; and Tim Doody President of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East, appeared before the Council to discuss recent progress in the U.S. Congress regarding Options 1, 2, and 2/2a and Pump to the River for New Orleans outfall canals.
Option 2a is Option 2, which provides for the deepening and repaving of canal walls and construction of new all-purpose pumping stations at the Orleans Ave., London Ave., and 17th St. canals, with the inclusion of Pump to the River - a mechanism by which water in the 17th St. Canal will be pumped directly to the Mississippi River.
The Council passed Resolution R-09-574, authored by Councilmember Clarkson, reaffirming the Council's request of April 2, 2009 to have Option 2a implemented.
Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "We cannot afford to choose the cheapest option, we must choose the best option - this is not about the cost of dollars, this is about the cost of lives. We will continue this fight on the local, regional and national levels to ensure that our City has the most complete storm protection possible."